All Articles
All Articles
CULTURE

The New Cleanser: Ultra-Moisturizing Soapless Balms and Oils

A round-up of our favorite soapless moisturizing cleansers

by Ami Kealoha
on 22 January 2010
cleansers-intro.jpg

Since experiencing the deeply moisturizing and soothing benefits of a cleanser designed for use with less (or in some cases without) water, I decided to make the up-and-coming product a permanent part of my nightly routine. Not only does the low pH make them "soapless" and gentler on skin, but these little wonders take care of the common winter dryness plague.

They also can eliminate the need for rinsing with harsh water and for using moisturizer overnight—a practice said to clog pores unnecessarily. (For those wary of adding yet another bottle to their bathroom cabinet, try tissuing off your favorite neutral lotion to address flaky patches without over-moisturizing.)

Hydration addicts will also want to check out our companion piece on hydrating mists, another product that heals and protects skin during winter or any other harsh conditions.

A creamy non-foaming cleanser, Clark's Soothing Herbal Face Wash ($45) has a smooth consistency and a pleasant lavender scent that doesn't overpower. An ideal travel wash, the cleanser easily towels off without water which makes for superior moisturizing.

Elemental Herbology's Purify & Soothe Cleansing Balm ($64) comes out of the tube as a mix of oil and a salve-like substance—similar in consistency to Ren's (see below). Unlike some soapless cleansers, this one massages on all over the face, including the eye area—a big help when removing eye makeup. Packed with Aloe Vera and omega-3 fatty acids, this cleanser also helps soothe and heal sunburned skin. While directions calling for removal of the balm with muslin soaked in warm water seem a little over-the-top to us, we can't argue with the benefits of a clean, rosy complexion.

cleansers-kiehls.jpg cleansers-carita.jpg

Kiehl's provides an even consistency with their Centella Skin-Calming Facial Cleanser ($29). which has all of the essential ingredients—aloe for moisture, chamomile to soothe—and a few more for a powerful punch. Centella, a mildly antibacterial plant with anti-oxidant properties invigorates skin with its anti-inflammatory, anti-aging and stimulating qualities. Interestingly, the Centella cleanser can be used with or without water.

A light gel formula, Carita's Ideal Hydration Lagoon Gelee goes on clear, gently cleansing the face with its moisturizing microbeads. Comprised of hydrating lagoon water from the Polynesian island of Raiatea, the gel lightly massages into skin before removing it with a cotton pad soaked in warm water.

cleansers-ren.jpg cleansers-shu.jpg

Like all Ren products, the No.1 Purity Cleansing Balm ($55) performs well, has a subtle scent and uses top-notch ingredients—all housed in attractive packaging. While a little oily coming out of the bottle, the balm pack a serious moisture punch. The heaviest of the cleansers on the list, Ren's balm is ideal for anyone with really dry skin or when the climate is especially harsh.

With somewhat of a cult following, Shu Uemura lives up to the hype. Their Cleansing Beauty Oil Premium A/I ($72) doesn't emulsify as much as Ren and Elemental Herbology's cleansers but its pleasantly light scent makes washing your face into a pampering ritual.

The CH25 is a showcase of creators and innovators from a broad range of disciplines who are currently working to drive the world forward.

Sarah Kunst

The entrepreneur single-handedly changing the landscape for women in tech

Read More
People who live on a planet that is half women but can never seem to find any when they need one, I have solved your problem

Jonathan Sparks

Reinventing electronic music by inventing multi-disciplinary instruments

Read More
Recorded music is becoming so cheap, so the value of music is now in live performance

Melissa Kushner

Addressing the needs of orphans and vulnerable children in Malawi through microenterprise

Read More
Poverty is complicated, there is an increasing temptation and pressure in the development space to oversimplify things

Sabine Seymour

A future where smart clothes are as ubiquitous as zippers

Read More
In the future you will not buy a piece of 'functional' clothing without SoftSpot

Roxie Darling

From un-shampoo to transgender identity, the NYC colorist boldly defining the next chapter of hair

Read More
Hair color is as much a science as it is a craft

Vanessa Newman

Redesigning pregnancy for the post-gender generation with Butchbaby & Co.

Read More
I want my customers to feel comfortable and unchanged, in that becoming pregnant didn't take away from or compromise their identity

Meredith Perry

How searching the Internet helped a 22-year-old invent wireless electricity

Read More
It’s not about where the information is, it’s about how you use the tools

Pauline van Dongen

The Dutch designer blazing the wearable technology path

Read More
I’m fascinated by concepts of change, movement, energy and perception; since they are closely related to the way we experience the world

Joshua Harker

Pushing the boundaries of sculpture with intricate 3D printing

Read More
My intent was to explore and depict the architecture of the imagination, to interpret and share forms evident in the mind’s eye

Alex Kalman

The tiny museum in Manhattan that’s redefining museums

Read More
The mission is to put this small simple and powerful tool into the hands of as many people as possible

Corinne Joachim Sanon

The chocolatier bringing social change to Haiti and bean-to-bar chocolate to the world

Read More
Seeing the poverty surrounding me and the lack of jobs and opportunity bothered me

Lulu Mickelson

A civic leader bringing change to NYC through design

Read More
Human-centered design is one of the many tools that we can use to better engage the public

Kegan Schouwenburg

Revolutionizing orthotics through 3D-printed insoles

Read More
What orthotics do is they effectively change the geometry of what your alignment is like

Leopoldine Huyghues Despointes

The young filmmaker and non-profit founder who just wants people to follow their dreams

Read More
I feel confident and ready to accomplish so much more, the movement is on

Tal Danino

The bioengineer who’s programming DNA to fight cancer

Read More
[Manipulating genes] is very new, people are just learning how to program these organisms

Eelke Plasmeijer

The locally driven restaurant that’s upending Balinese food culture

Read More
We really try to keep things simple and let the produce do the talking

Tarren Wolfe

The next-generation appliance making kitchens greener—literally

Read More
Our goal is to provide food for everyone in the world, and the best place to start is in our very own community

George Arriola and Monohm

An heirloom electronic for the post-smartphone era

Read More
We agonized during the design process as all hyper-obsessed craftspeople should

Cynthia Breazeal

How an emotional, empathetic robot named Jibo stands to revolutionize communication

Read More
The thing that's so provocative about social robots is that it's fundamentally a community technology

Douglas Riboud + Justin Guilbert

How a mission to create great coconut water led to a whole new way of doing business

Read More
We’ve made a conscious decision to be as transparent and honest as we can, and let people decide for themselves

Matt Kenyon

Fusing art and technology to disrupt concepts of corporate America

Read More
I want the work to live in the world and circulate, so it can generate more dialogue

Dan Barasch + James Ramsey

A quest to make the future brighter—underground

Read More
We both share a passion for groundbreaking technology and a shared love of New York

Marcus Weller

Using technology to turn motorcycle helmet design on its head

Read More
I was taken aback both by the number of people that doubted it, and by the equally large number of people that got behind it

Kathleen Supové

The NYC performance artist who’s radically reinventing the piano recital

Read More
I like pieces that are virtuosic, that show off the piano and what it can do, and are awe-inspiring

LaToya Ruby Frazier

Documenting the slow, troubling change in Braddock, Pennsylvania

Read More
I am not a journalist, I am a conceptual documentary artist using my visual expression for building narratives that are unseen and unheard
Loading More...